Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Okinawa Diet

I read an interview recently (can't remember where, unfortunately) where someone said we were due for another fad diet. I say we need another fad diet like a fish needs a bicycle. But what do you think it would be? Drink 10 cups of coffee a day to rev up your metabolism? Starbucks could sponsor it.

I like the Okinawa Diet because it seems to be a common-sense approach. It recommends low-fat, high-fiber foods, lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and not refined grains, and no liquids besides water and green tea. Who can argue with that? It includes animal protein, but limits the amounts very strictly, except for some fish. I think one thing that's missing is a cap on the amount of sodium. I often notice that low or reduced-fat foods are much saltier than their full-fat counterparts. And soups, one of my mainstays, can be loaded with sodium if you're not careful.

But overall, the RV gives a thumbs-up to the Okinawa Diet. This seems like a good place to share one of my favorite travel stories. I was in Japan at an onsen (hot spring). This particular hot spring was similar to a public pool. The hot spring water was piped indoors and there were separate pools for men and women, because you take the waters without a stitch on. I was in the women's section, and my male friend Jamie, a fluent Japanese speaker, was in the men's section. I found myself completely unable to make conversation with the friendly Japanese women in the tub with me. I just smiled and nodded at them. Then one of them pinched the flab around her waist, the universal "I'm so fat" gesture. I started laughing and the women and I all completely cracked up. No translation needed there!


Katyola said...

Another thing you have to watch for in low-fat foods: high sugar content. A nutritionist I know is on the warpath over low-fat peanut butter. Basically, they drain the oil from it and replace it with sugar. Terrible!

Amy said...

Whoa, they punk'd the peanut butter. That's a good point. I stick with the "old fashioned" type that's just peanuts and salt. It takes some muscle to stir in the oil on the top, but after you refrigerate it it doesn't separate any more.